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Category: New Questions

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Photography Question 
Amanda D. Austwick
BetterPhoto Member
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member since: 8/2/2003
 

Model Release


I have a good photo of a man working. You cannot see his face, or a logo that shows the company he works for. Do I still need a model release for a photo like this, or for anyone I take in a crowd who is not clearly defined?

8/19/2006 6:07:12 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  If the individuals in your photographs are not in any way recognizable, the answer is no and you can publish them electronically or in print or display them in public without a release. Corporate logos or identifying signs, etc., are a bit trickier. But if the logo isn't showing, it's a non-issue anyway.
With corporate identity issues, you need to determine whether publishing the photo would lead the viewer to construe the corporation in a derogatory manner. Example: taking a photo and publishing it along with text that is knowingly inaccurate to accompany the picture that shows a bunch of strikers battling it out with corporate security cops in front of the gate to a steel plant or coal mine with the corporate logo in view. Without the text, the photo would probably be construed as newsworthy and no release would be required to publish it in a recognized news publication. BUT combined with false text, the whole package would likely be construed as defamatory and actionable in a suit for libel.
Got it?
Take it light.
Mark

8/19/2006 9:47:17 AM

 
Amanda D. Austwick
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member since: 8/2/2003
 
 
 
Thank you very much Mark. Your answer clears up a lot of issues I had with a photo release.
Amanda A.

8/19/2006 11:55:00 AM

 
Amanda D. Austwick
BetterPhoto Member
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member since: 8/2/2003
  Please ignore the photo on the site right now. I have to learn how to work more with my digimarked photo. A new one will be up in a day or 2.
Amanda A.

8/19/2006 2:49:26 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member
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member since: 6/27/2004
  Hi Mark, what if I would have a photo of a person and their features are obscured completely by a hat but the hat and work clothes in general might be recognizable? No logos ... just interesting clothes. I mean if this person saw the pic online they'd know it was them by the clothes and location. Thanks!

8/19/2006 7:37:04 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  The question, Sharon, is whether others who know the person would recognize them. Clowns, for example, often trademark or right-protect their particular make-up, wardrobe, wigs, etc., so even though the person isn't recognizable, their outfit is. Since that doesn't seem to be the situation you mention here, and manufacturers make more than one hat, shirt, etc., I'd say if the person is not, per se, recognizable, then you don't have any concerns.
M.

8/20/2006 10:35:55 AM

 
Sharon  Day
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member since: 6/27/2004
  Thank you, Mark! I took a pic of a guy while at the gardens who was cleaning out the lily pond of duck weed. While nothing he's wearing is really brand specific he's very distinctive looking. If I saw the pic online I'd know immediately where it was taken.

I would never attempt to sell an image of a person without a release but I do find these Q&As really interesting.

I always appreciate your input!

8/20/2006 11:21:51 AM

 
She-She Killough
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member since: 11/15/2005
  Mark I have a picture of three kids and you can just see their backs no faces and they have some animal backpacks on their backs and balloons they are holding. They are all red heads I believe. Would there be a problem with this image stock wise?

8/22/2006 6:49:02 AM

 
Jagadeesh Dev
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/30/2005
  Mark, I took a picture of a man with his eyes closed. He couldn't see me taking his picture, so does it really exist? Do I need a photo release? (LOLOLOL, had to show my butt!! Couldn't resist!!)

8/22/2006 9:16:33 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  Well Sipho, you needed a release (from confinement) but I think you already got one. ROFLMAO !!! ;>) 'Butt' I digress.......
Take it light. Literally.
Mark

8/22/2006 10:38:02 AM

 
Jagadeesh Dev
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/30/2005
  Hoped you'd appreciate that! Always light....

8/22/2006 11:24:42 AM

 
She-She Killough
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member since: 11/15/2005
  guess I asked the wrong place...sorry.

8/22/2006 12:15:05 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  Probably not but it depends first on what the requirements are of your stock reps, like in your written agreement as it pertains to releases.

M.

Hey, Sipho, you were asking about postcards awhile back: www.postcardpress.com / 1-800-217-1529. 500 cards for 95 bucks. Not bad. Or, depending on the size of your mailing list and how you use these things, like an air-drop over Manhattan, 5000 cards !!! for a mere $289. Nice quality. They even offer mailing services.

M.

8/22/2006 1:43:39 PM

 
She-She Killough
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member since: 11/15/2005
  Thanks

8/22/2006 1:48:42 PM

 
She-She Killough
Contact She-She
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member since: 11/15/2005
  Btw...when I hear you say in the past that if you have a HAND in a picture you better have a model release as someone might say "that is MY Hand" and I want compensation... what is a person to think about recognizable clothing like three brothers dressed the same all the same colored hair etc...? No offense but this is not as simple as it might seem after all you have to get releases for FLOWERS!! Take it light,
SS

8/22/2006 1:52:51 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  Sorry, but I haven't a clue over what you're talking about. A hand in a picture? And I beg your pardon but I NEVER said that.

But you know SSK, if you don't have a handle on the laws that apply to what you're doing, you're operating at your own peril.

I'd love to continue this discussion but I have to go meet with some commercial growers with patented and copyrighted varieties and get them to sign a few releases.

And....I do. Always, which is some advice it seems you'd do well to take on your own. ;>)
M

8/22/2006 5:45:43 PM

 
Larry Larsen

member since: 11/1/2004
  This model release thing is nuts! It only matters if you are going to sell it to a stock agency and they won't buy it without a release. Anything else goes. I have asked many big name photograhers, NG guys, Jay Maisel,etc. None of them get model releases. Who has the money to hire a lawyer to persue the issue? presuming that even if you won you could get anything from the photograher who is dirt poor. The same goes for stealing images, who has the money or time to chase after someone unless it happened to be a big name publisher and they wouldn't make that mistake. Give it a rest.

8/22/2006 8:49:39 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  I, for one, am pretty impressed that you know a lot of big name photographers. WOW !!! But what does "anything goes" mean?

And, actually Larry, I know the Maisel clan quite well, including his son AND I've worked with his nephew on a couple of projects, and you're right: He has assistants who get them for him or the contracts he has for shooting provide releases with usage agreements and compensation scales. All of them, like most professional photographers we know and work with, know the law that applies to our work.

In a sense, you're right about copyrights although copyrights aren't really relevant to the present subject here. But yes, it's easier to protect your rights if you're also a lawyer OR if you diligently protect them from the outset like through registration AND getting releases in advance. That applies to ANY publication not just stock agencies, btw. The release indemnification clause is built into the stock delivery memo and you're making a warranty that the photo is properly released on submission for publication. Sure, there are a lot of photographers who just sign rather than read their publishing agreements or stock delivery memos, or just lie about it and run the risk of getting sued by their own publisher. That's a real crowd pleaser, especially in terms of your own reputation.

OTOH, in terms of coyright, there are certainly those who chose not to waste their time with trivial matters like protecting their rights but I'm sure when they get trampled on (depending on the size of the tramplee, I guess) they're usually the first to hollar "foul" and whine about it.

OK, Larry, take that rest you were talking about.
M

8/23/2006 10:49:25 AM

 
Larry Larsen

member since: 11/1/2004
  Dear MF, Wow! You know Maisel AND his sons. I am certainly one upped. Wow! The problem with all this BS on model releases is that it burdens people who ought to be shooting and having fun at it. Very few of us will ever get into a position where model releases matter.
Larry Larsen

8/23/2006 11:41:00 AM

 
Jagadeesh Dev
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/30/2005
  I'd watch out, Mark - Larry might get his brother Daryl, and his other brother Daryl then come give you what for......LOLOL

8/23/2006 11:45:33 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  Model releases as a burden? I merely consider it an administrative requirement and part of the privilege of photographing people for publication, whether on assignment or for stock use. Nothing more or less.

M.
"I owe, I owe, so off to shoot I go". Hey, Sipho. Get my note about a postcard printer?

8/23/2006 1:42:24 PM

 
Jagadeesh Dev
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/30/2005
  Yes, thank you. I forgot to mention that. And a drop over Manhattan is a GREAT idea!! (if I can get clearance from Homeland Security...) LOL

8/23/2006 1:46:04 PM

 
She-She Killough
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member since: 11/15/2005
  Sipho, your REALLY loven all of this aren't you? This is your kinda thing to stir up strife and divison. It is really clear who you are. So why don't you leave this to folks who truly and honestly want answers. Mark was doing fine on his own and so was everyone else. And Larry thanks for your concern you are an honest guy who obviously cares about the average joe like me. I thank you for that. I think this forum is really for honest photographers wanting answers and it should never have been a place for the insults that came earlier which started this whole thing. I would expect those who give answers would be kind and professional and would not play into the games of those who mock others who are asking for help. Hopefully this ends here! As it should.

8/23/2006 3:29:54 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  And there you have it. ;>)

M.

8/23/2006 4:58:11 PM

 
Amanda D. Austwick
BetterPhoto Member
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member since: 8/2/2003
  Mark,
Following the thread, i'm not certain if I need a release for hand photos?
Thanks,
Amanda

8/23/2006 5:40:45 PM

 
Jagadeesh Dev
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/30/2005
  She-she, as you saw fit to tirade in public instead of an email, I will do the same. You DON'T know me, you've never participated in another thread to which I've posted, so don't presume you know me or my motivations for responding the way that I have. Obviously, you also think more of yourself than I think of you... just because my comment appeared after yours does not mean it was a response to you. I don't have to justify or explain my comment in any way, but I will this time.... My comment was in reference to the sheer number of questions directed at Mark, and a hint at the severity, length, and detail that model release question could get to if it were to continue. Not that it's any of your business, but I have often times lauded Mark for his knowledge and helpful nature. Also, another explanation, though not owed, is that I perceived Larry's comments as being smart and that's why I chimed in on that one. Maybe perceived incorrectly, but there it is. Do your research, madam, before you presume to judge me.

8/24/2006 5:46:00 AM

 
She-She Killough
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member since: 11/15/2005
  there WAS no email for you btw... and I don't buy it. End of discussion.

8/24/2006 5:55:13 AM

 
Jagadeesh Dev
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/30/2005
  All right, folks, enough of the fireworks. She-she and I have made nice. As a show of solidarity, I have changed my name to He-he, and She-she has changed her name to Herpho. Got it? Good.

8/24/2006 7:11:39 AM

 
She-She Killough
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member since: 11/15/2005
  Absolutely!! :) He-He your name looks good on you! ;)

8/24/2006 7:13:52 AM

 
Robyn Gwilt
BetterPhoto Member
robyngphotography.com

member since: 7/15/2005
  Wow these threads are getting out of hand quicker than ever! Mark, your advice as always is interesting, but I do remember someone (not sure who) on a thread some months ago saying that if a hand/body part/foot,whatever was in a pic, and a (nitpicky) person recognised it as themselves, you should have a model release!I agree its crazy - so much for 'freedom of... whatever'. I know that in the States people sue left right and centre, so I'm sure you're right to cover yourself, not sure what the situation is in South Africa - maybe we're too lazy to sue, or know that we'd be laughed at. We've a lot of really fatties here, who have NEVER sued MacDonalds, and wouldn't dare!! LOL
She-She, I know who you're talking about, but Sipho is just plain Sipho (or Andrew to those who know) and DEFINITELY not Brady/La Shady/David and various other names. Sipho's sense of humour is off the wall, pretty quick, but not malicious! I mean why else would a nice white American boy choose a Zulu name (thank you Robyn), and come out of the closet on BP. Brady never has never will! Now Sipho take the muti the nice Sangoma gave you....:)

8/24/2006 11:49:30 PM

 
Jagadeesh Dev
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/30/2005
  Is muti like bran? Will I have to remain close to home for 8 hours? Thank you, Robyn. Meckaleckahi meckahiney ho.

8/25/2006 10:09:52 AM

 
She-She Killough
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member since: 11/15/2005
  If Sipho is zulu then what is He-He? ;)
Or Herpho? :D

8/25/2006 11:17:39 AM

 
Robyn Gwilt
BetterPhoto Member
robyngphotography.com

member since: 7/15/2005
  You'll have to ask Sipho what he really is :) But a Wikipedia translation of the world Muti is:
Muti is a term for traditional medicine in Southern Africa. The word Muti is derived from the Zulu word for tree, of which the route is -thi. African Traditional Medicine makes use of various natural products, many of which are derived from trees. For this reason, medicine generally is known as Muti. In Southern Africa, the word Muti is in widespread use in most indigenous African languages, as well as in South African English and Afrikaans where it is sometimes used as a slang word for medicine in general. There are other more sinister ways of making and using muti - as in most cultures - but generally we use it to refer to medicine! And yes, 8 hours would probably be a good idea, since your tummy might not like it!

8/25/2006 11:44:01 AM

 

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